While students and families are distracted by the sights and sounds of summer, schools are quietly working behind the scenes to prepare for school to start again in the fall. They’re cleaning up classrooms, repairing broken desks and tuning school buses for a fresh start. Sure, teachers and school bus drivers have time to go on vacation and take a break, but they also set aside time in their schedule to plan for the next school year.

Here are some of the to-do items that school districts check off during the summer:

  1. Annual Planning: Since most school districts follow a July 1 fiscal year, they focus on end-of-year purchases and budgets, especially since a new budget can affect programs, personnel and supplies. Guidance counselors and teachers work on class rosters, and administrative staff purchase new textbooks and review goals such as graduation and attendance rates.
  2. Update Training: Many teachers and support staff attend workshops and conferences in the summer, as well as professional development classes or continuing education courses. This keeps them up-to-date and qualified for the fall. School bus drivers also receive annual safety training and update or complete their certification during the summer months to be prepared for the next school year.
  3. School Bus Maintenance: Since school buses run almost daily for the ten months of the school year, the summer is the perfect time to do additional maintenance beyond routine care and inspections. A few buses may be kept in operation for summer programs, but the majority roll into the maintenance shop for a long checklist, including brakes, batteries and headlights. Sometimes seats are replaced, new parts are ordered, and old buses are sold or retired.
  4. Repairs & Renovations: The summer marks the perfect time for big renovation projects, such as replacing leaky air conditioner units or classroom windows. That’s why you may see furniture stacked in hallways and machinery that strips, waxes and buffs the floors. Maintenance crew may need to rewire fixtures and A/V equipment, and custodial staff often disinfect lockers, desks and chairs that need a deep clean.
  5. Summer Programs: Depending on your community, you may notice your school isn’t empty at all in the summer! In fact, some school districts offer “summer school” for students to participate in daytime activities while their parents work. Community groups also set up summer programs at schools, and at the high school level, some extracurricular activities such as theater, marching band and color guard practice for the fall.

While planning your next summer activity, think about the school staff busily preparing for the fall and get excited about the clean floors, new textbooks and spruced-up classrooms you’ll see on the first day of school.